So, I’m reading an agent blog, looking for whether or not he reps my kind of work, when I see in his archives a post about what he hates to see in queries.
To my astonishment, he asks people not to say science-fiction novel in their query, as it’s the same as saying science-fiction fiction. 0_0
Now, I’ve heard that agents don’t like to see I’m querying my fiction novel, as novels are, by default, fiction. And that if you have a novel that is genre-less (general fiction), you should simply say, I’m querying my novel. So, novel isn’t the word they have the problem with.
In the comments section of this particular blog, helpful readers did point out that in the words science-fiction novel, science-fiction is simply an adjective and saying it is the same as saying fantasy novel or crime novel. His response was something like, my pool, my rules, and he suggesting saying, I’m querying my science-fiction work or project. That’s fine. He can ask for whatever he likes. But he also said, I know many agents who stop reading when they see science-fiction novel.
I would never in a million years have suspected this. It seems so odd to me that this adjective/noun combo would create so many problems. My query letters have always contained the world novel so as not to be confused with graphic novel, screenplay, poetry collection or short-story collection. A science-fiction project could be any damn thing.
So, please tell me, have you ever encountered anything like this before? And those of you who’ve written queries, did you include the word novel after the adjective describing it? Please reassure me that this guy is actually a one-off.